Category: Vintage Homeware

Love and Care for Vintage China

Recently we’ve had a few people ask us about caring for vintage china. Having so much vintage china means we’ve gained real expertise in maintaining vintage ceramics and porcelain to keep it bright, clean and beautiful and this is the perfect time of year to have a look at all our stock and give it the once over. So here’s our tips for keeping all that vintage gorgeousness looking lovely and fresh.

Washing

Whenever we get “new” stock the first thing we do is give it a good wash – you never know what’s been in or on it……mmmm

  • If you are washing a teapot always remove the lid before you begin. Lids are the most vulnerable bit of the teapot and more likely to get broken than any other part.
  • Check the china over – are there any cracks or chips – we never use cracked china for food use – but blemishes are common in old crockery so just because an item has the odd uneven mark or colour spot – doesn’t mean that it is ruined! Inside teapots its quite common for the glaze to be imperfect. Marking beneath the glaze does not affect the taste of the tea or use of a teapot or cup.

washing a blue vintage teapot

  • Use a plastic bowl, lined with a dishcloth if necessary and only wash one item in the bowl at a time.
  • How hot is that water? Scalding water or direct heat can cause the glaze to crack or lift the gilding. Its one of the many reasons we never recommend using fine china teacups for scented candles – they may look pretty once – but be prepared that they will ruin the cup! Warm water is best for vintage china – and delicate hands!
  • Use a non-abrasive detergent. Vintage china does not fare well with dishwashers or modern detergents that might mark or scratch the gilding. We use Ecover or other “earth friendly” detergents. For more stubborn marks use baking soda, cream of tartar or salt. For very stubborn tea-marks then fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar soaking overnight will usually do the trick – but toothpaste can also be good for ground in discolouring – well if it works on your gnashers it’s got to be good!
  • The best way of avoiding staining is rinsing the china immediately after use. Jam is particularly horrible as it will leach into the china turning it pink. Wipe and rinse as soon as you can.

Cleaning the spout using a cotton bud

 

  • For teapot spouts, use a cotton bud to get into the spout and clean thoroughly. Don’t scrub at the gilding as it can start to flake off.
  • Check for staining along the underside of the spout as this area is often overlooked.
  • Use a cotton bud for the rim of the lid. Tea stains are common here too.

 

Checking under the spout washing a teapot lid using a cotton bud

  • Dry your china with a clean tea-towel. This prevents smears.
  • If stacking or packing china or cups do not use plastic bubble wrap. This can cause the china to sweat and encourage moulds. Remember that very old bone china may have some organic content (yum!). Your china is best wrapped in thin dry paper or paper serviettes.
  • Keep your china at moderate temperatures – too hot or too cold and wild fluctuations in temperature will cause cracking.
  • Fine surface crazing from too hot water can generally be “healed” by placing the china in warm milk for 30 minutes before re-washing – we know – how amazing is that!

Washing crockery correctly is a vital part of vintage china care. If you keep these hints in mind you’ll keep your teapots and trios in tip-top condition… but do remember to enjoy a cup of tea when you’re done! With a few biscuits of course!

Tea wedding favor


Published by annie, on 12th November 2012 at 8:48 pm. Filled under: Vintage Activities,Vintage Events,Vintage Homeware,Weddings Tags: , , , Comments Off on Love and Care for Vintage China

Homage to Bunting!

We’ve recently had lots of enquiries from lovely people wanting to hire out our gorgeous handmade bunting for parties and weddings so we thought we’d get it all out and check it over in case any of it was in need of some TLC – and having hundreds of metres all over the floor, furniture and tables got us wondering about the origins of bunting and how it got the name so we did a bit of research to enlighten ourselves on a dark and rainy November Sunday afternoon! And believe us – when you get hundreds of metres all tangled up you really do need something to distract you! So here’s our little homage to bunting!

We use the term “bunting” these days to refer to any festive decorations made of fabric (or even paper and plastic) cut into triangles and strung together – although you can get all sorts of shapes and sizes now. The term was also used historically to refer to a collection of flags, particularly naval ones. The officer responsible for raising signals using flags was known as a “bunt” and it’s still the name used to refer to a ship’s communications officer.

The initial meaning of the flag-colored “bunting,” when it first appeared in print in the mid-18th century, was “light cotton or woollen cloth used to make flags and banners.” This kind of cloth was of a very open weave, and apparently called “bunting” because it was similar to loosely-woven cloth used to sift grain or meal. The action of sifting grain had been known as “bunting” since the 14th century, and a contraption for sifting meal and grain had been known as a “bunt,” which may have simply been a form of the older word “bolt” (from the Old French “bulter”) for the same kind of sifting process. So the cloth routinely used to make flags was called “bunting” because it was similar to the cloth used to sift grain and meal.

And when the same cloth was used for decorative, flag-themed draperies or streamers, it made sense to call those “bunting.”!

Many thanks to the guys at The Word Detective for that!

 

Aren’t words truly fascinating! And so to untangling our bunting……


Published by annie, on 5th November 2012 at 9:09 pm. Filled under: Vintage Activities,Vintage Arts,Vintage Events,Vintage Homeware,Vintage Local History,Weddings Tags: , , , , Comments Off on Homage to Bunting!